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Court allows bar on Tulsa’s enforcement of municipal laws against Native Americans to remain in place



The Supreme Court upheld a ruling of a federal appeals courts that prevents the city Tulsa from enforcing its municipal ordinances in relation to Native Americans. In a brief unsigned order without any public dissents, the justices rejected the city’s request to put a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit on hold to give the city time to appeal.  

The court’s order was issued in relation to a dispute involving a traffic ticket from nearly five years ago and the interpretation of a law passed in 1898. Justin Hooper is a Tulsa native and member of Choctaw Nation. He received a speeding citation in 2018, while driving on Muscogee Nation but within Tulsa’s city limits.

Hooper paid $150 as a fine. Two years later, however, the Supreme Court ruled that Hooper was not guilty. McGirt v. Oklahoma Because a large part of eastern Oklahoma is still an Indian Reservation, state and local authorities cannot prosecute Native Americans committing crimes on the reservation. Hooper sought to have the ticket thrown out after the court’s decision in McGirtNative Americans commit crimes in the city but not on the reservations, so the city has no power to prosecute them.

The city countered by saying that the Curtis Act…

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